This story was originally published Jan. 11, 2013.
A few of our readers recently said they spotted coyotes in West Toluca Lake, but some lessons I learned from my past job could help keep the wild animals away.
Reader Lisa Pano told Patch on Facebook that she spotted a coyote last Saturday at Kling Street and Bellflower Avenue around 10:30 p.m.
"It looked it had a small animal in its mouth and it ran down Sarah street, when I lost it. This is so very dangerous for our pets and neighbors," she wrote. "In 10 years of living in the area, I have never seen a coyote this far off from the canyons."
Resident John Chapman said he spotted coyotes on Hortense, Sarah, Kling and Blix streets on Sunday and Monday.
Before moving to North Hollywood-Toluca Lake Patch, I was the editor of Calabasas Patch, a community that reported many coyote encounters due to its proximity to park land and mountains.
Calabasas developed a coyote management plan, which indicated there's many steps people can take to prevent coyotes from roaming their neighborhoods. Here are some of their tips:
- Keep your cat or small dog indoors at night or any other time when a coyote is known to be in the area
- Accompany your small dog in a well lighted area at night for comfort walks
- Walk your dog on a leash whenever you take it off of your property
- Confine poultry and rabbits in covered enclosures constructed with heavy mesh wire. Coyotes can break through ordinary chicken wire
- Keep all outdoor trash can lids securely fastened to trash containers
Pick backyard fruit as soon as it ripens and keep rotten fruit off the ground
And here's a few dont's:
- Don't feed wild animals
- Don't leave pet food outside, particularly at night
- Don't allow pets to roam from home--especially at night.
- Don't leave water bowls for pets outdoors
- Don't leave garbage containers open
Don't leave water in birdbaths or bird seed outdoors for songbirds
Click here to read more about Calabasas' coyote management plan.
While in Calabasas, I also met Camila Fox, founder of Project Coyote, who said if someone encounters a coyote, they should be "big, bad and loud."
"[Coyotes] are social pack animals. If they feel that you're the dominant force out there, they will respond accordingly," she said.
Tricks as simple as shaking an empty soda can filled with coins could be enough to scare the wild animals off, Fox said.
In the city of Los Angeles, call (888) 452-7381 for non-lethal assistance.
You can call Los Angeles Animal Services when you spot a coyote, but have relevant information on hand when they call in. (Click here for the checklist.)